On Monday morning, Texas police announced that they had arrested a former sheriff’s detective accused of shooting and killing three people on Sunday in Austin. Shooters across the country opened fire in the past few days, leaving at least 18 people dead and at least 17 wounded. The violence erupted in Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.
On Thursday evening, 19-year-old former FedEx Ground employee Brandon Scott Hole opened fire, killing nine people, including himself, and injuring seven others at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, Ind. The shooter’s motive remains unclear, although an investigation of the shooter’s Facebook accounts revealed him to be a “brony,” a fan of My Little Pony. Less than an hour before the shooting, he posted on Facebook, “I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her. If there’s no afterlife and she isn’t real then my life never mattered anyway.”
It seems this heinous violence may be as meaningless as the shooter’s Facebook post. However, Hole’s mother did contact police in March 2020 to report that her son might try to commit “suicide by cop.” At the time, authorities committed him for mental health treatment and seized a shotgun from him. He legally purchased the two assault rifles he used in the shooting in July and September 2020.
Two suspects opened fire at the Westroads Mall in Omaha at about noon on Saturday. The shooters killed 21-year-old Trequez Swift and injured 22-year-old Ja’Keya Veland, who is expected to survive. Police arrested a 16-year-old suspect on suspicion of first-degree murder and an 18-year-old suspect on suspicion of accessory to a felony in the homicide. “The investigation indicates this was an isolated incident and not a random attack,” police said.
In a particularly horrifying tragedy, a shooter targeted a vigil for Jarrin Hickman, who had been murdered last year. Around 7:30 p.m., a dark-colored SUV drove by the vigil and people inside the vehicle opened fire into the crowd. The shooters injured five people, including a 12-year-old child. All five were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Latoya Carpenter, 39, was driving past the scene when the shooting started. A bullet hit her in the head, causing her vehicle to crash into a parked car. Authorities have yet to identify suspects in the tragic shooting.
A shooter opened fire during a 12-year-old child’s birthday party on Saturday in LaPlace, a suburb of New Orleans. The shooter injured six people, but none of the injuries were life-threatening, sheriff’s deputies reported. “Verbal confrontations during a child’s birthday party led to gunfire,” police reported.
A neighbor, Rashad Bolden, said he was home when the shooting took place. He said he believes the shooter was also a child.
“For someone to just shoot into the garage full of kids, that’s kind of heartless,” Bolden told 4WWL News. “You want to call it heartless, but you know they are not old enough to know what heartless is.”
Just after midnight on Sunday morning, a suspect opened fire at The Somers House tavern. Sheriff David G. Beth said it “sounds like one person got removed from the establishment and possibly came back a short time later” and started shooting. The suspect left three dead and three wounded.
Police arrested a “person of interest” in the case later on Sunday. “This appears to be a targeted and isolated incident,” Beth said. “We do not believe there is a threat to the community.” The suspect faces one count of first-degree intentional homicide, with additional charges possible pending investigation.
A shooter opened fire at a vehicle on Sunday afternoon, killing a 7-year-old girl and seriously injuring a 29-year-old man. The shooting is under investigation and no suspect has been arrested.
Throughout the Windy City, shooters killed three people (including the 7-year-old girl) and injured 21 others this past weekend. Tragically, this kind of violence is endemic to the city.
On Monday morning, police arrested 41-year-old Stephen Nicholas Broderick, the former sheriff’s detective accused of shooting and killing three people in Austin on Sunday. Police described the incident as an isolated “domestic situation.”
Last year, police charged Broderick with sexual assault of a child. The victims — two women and a man — knew Broderick, police said. A child involved in the incident is safe.
These heartbreaking shootings should remind Americans that evil exists and it does not always fit into readily understood categories. It remains to be seen how the shooters involved acquired their guns, but it seems unlikely that gun control measures will prevent shooters from acquiring guns without also hampering Americans’ right to own firearms legally.
Each of these heinous shootings appears to involve an isolated and personal kind of evil. Is it possible that a 12-year-old child somehow opened fire at the birthday party? How did a bar fight escalate into a shooting in Kenosha? Why did the Indianapolis shooter want to commit “suicide by cop”?
The patented slogan of gun control does not address any of these questions. The evils involved are too concrete and personal for any political solution.
The best Americans can do is comfort the bereaved, help the wounded, pray for our country, do the greatest amount of good we can in our concrete circumstances, and prepare for self-defense.